Tony Williams' decision to leave Manly at season's end could have a silver lining for the Sea Eagles as the premier fights to retain front-rower Darcy Lussick and hooker Matt Ballin.
Lussick and Ballin have been the subject of big-money offers from rival clubs but it is understood both would prefer to remain on Sydney's northern beaches. That appears certain to happen following Williams' decision to accept a lucrative four-year deal with Canterbury-Bankstown.
In doing so he became the first Manly player to follow Des Hasler to the Bulldogs after five-eighth Kieran Foran spurned their advances to remain at the Sea Eagles.
Fullback Brett Stewart is also certain to remain at Brookvale, meaning Williams is likely to be the club's only big-name loss in the off-season, although winger David Williams could yet accept an offer from English club Leeds.
Speaking in camp with the NSW team at Coogee yesterday, Manly backrower Glenn Stewart admitted it would be disappointing to see the player known as "T-Rex" leave at the end of the season.
"I suppose that's what happens to a club that's had a bit of success," Stewart said.
"You can't keep everyone with the (salary) cap and all.
"Since we finished the grand final last year there's been rumours about lots of players and stuff.
"We've learned not to listen to all of that until we find out fact."
Williams' decision could also have ramifications for several Bulldogs. There is speculation the club is shopping around Aiden Tolman and Greg Eastwood while several others are off contract, including David Stagg, Kris Keating, Dene Halatau and Steve Turner.